Just after his proposal, Taylor and I were walking hand-in-hand down the rest of the Lady In The Woods trail at a national park. We had spent the previous twenty minutes babbling about weddings, about what colors, what groomsmen, what food, and we were nowhere near getting worn out on the subject.
Periodically we stopped to admire a particularly beautiful view or lush landscape. When we passed a quiet stream winding through the moss, Taylor set down his tripod and began snapping photos. After a moment, a couple of women came chattering happily around the corner of the path.
They were in their late fifties and wore matching white t-shirts and cross necklaces. One had a fanny pack bundled around her middle. The other had red, white and blue socks.
“Don’t mind us,” I said, scooting off the path a little ways.
“Oh, not at all, not at all!” said the first woman. They stopped and looked over Taylor’s shoulder as he framed the photograph. “Ooo-ee!” the woman cried. “That is a fancy camera!”
“Thank you,” Taylor replied.
“It’s new-ish,” I added.
“Is this for a calendar?” asked the second woman. There was a glint in her eye as she uttered the word. This was obviously an exciting prospect for her.
“No,” I said. “Just for fun.”
The women both nodded sagely and watched Taylor take the photo. I was twisting my newly inherited ring around my finger. The adrenaline from the proposal was still running high.
“We just got engaged!” I blurted out. The women turned towards me, their mouths falling open.
“When?” they asked in unison. “Just now?”
“Twenty minutes ago,” I said. “On this path. Just up there a little ways.”
“OOOOH HONEY!” The first woman screamed. “HUGS ALL AROUND!”
She wrapped me in her arms while the other woman seized Taylor in a bear hug. He patted her back politely and she released him and turned towards me, wiping a tear away.
“I never met anybody who got engaged twenty minutes ago!” she said proudly. “Ooh, that’s just wonderful. That is just fantastic.”
I looked at Taylor. We both glowed a little.
“Are you from nearby?” Taylor asked them.
“No, no. We’re from Michigan! We’re just takin’ a walk before we head back to the airport. In fact, we ought to head on.”
They gave each of us a final hug and made their way up the path. As they disappeared out of sight, we could hear them exclaiming, “Ooh, engaged twenty minutes ago! Oh, boy! Made my day!”
The woods fell silent again, and Taylor’s lips twitched.
“That was hilarious,” he said.